Monday, December 20, 2010

Thank Goodness for Snow!







It snowed here for the past two days and it was so fun to not have anywhere to go or anything to do but to enjoy it. So we spent the days building an Oafy G snowman and building sledding jumps. It's a good bit of work to get everyone bundled up but it is so worth it. Patrick and Aeneas both stayed out for over an hour and had to be coaxed to come back in. Check it out.


Oafy G needed a friend so he wouldn't be lonely!





Here is Aeneas's launch.


And here is Patrick launching!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola Balls and Home made Play-Dough

I was looking for the recipe for play-dough tonight and found this little snack recipe. It 's warm gooey deliciousness will have the ol' hubby making repeat trips for spoonfuls as you put them into the candy liners.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup rice cereal
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup dried fruit (I used craisins!)

Melt the honey and butters in the microwave stirring along the way until fully melted and combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop in to mini muffin liners or candy liners and refrigerate. Yum!

And while I'm at it, here's the Play-Dough recipe. It's so great, soft, smells good, the kids don't actually LIKE to eat it and it's fun to make with them!

Home-Made Play Dough

2 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
3 Tbsp oil
1 pkg kool-aid

Mix all the dry ingredients, then pour the water and oil over the top, mixing as you go. Mix in the kool-aid for instant color with a yummy scent. (You can use food coloring if you want instead.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Family Traditions


At Patrick's school this week, we got to give a presentation to the class about our family traditions. Once I sat down to think about it, I realized just how many traditions we actually have.

Aeneas, Patrick and I created a poster and then Aeneas and Patrick did a wonderful job sharing with the class what sorts of things we do around the holidays each year. Each of the little presents had pictures of a particular tradition; hiking through the woods to find a tree, sleeping under the Christmas tree the night it goes up, Santa coming on Christmas morning, calling everyone on Christmas day to wish them a Merry Christmas, having a birthday party for Jesus and of course the annual fondu feast!

I made chocolate fondu and Justin passed out the goodies. We had the kids dip marshmallows and bananas into it. Everyone loved it (we caught a couple teachers taking a little taste). The class left school wound up and chocolate faced! I am sure the parents were so thrilled.


Merry Christmas Ms. Cash's Kindergarten Class!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Anyone LOVE Oatmeal Cookies?!?!

As 8 inches of snow fell to the ground on Sunday, we skied our hearts out (read: skied two runs which was plenty for the little guys) for the first time this season. So on the way home, JP treated us to a gigantic "Sow Your Oats" oatmeal cookie from our favorite bakery in town simply called Bread. They make these GINORMOUS, ridiculously perfect oatmeal cookies, chocked full of nuts, flax seeds, sesame, fruit and just all around delicious. Hubby says, "I sure wish we could figure out a slam dunk recipe for oatmeal cookies. You think Bread would give us theirs?"

So with our tea hosting that comes up once a week at Fort Lewis, I always have an excuse to get out the butter, sugar and flour. I found a recipe on the web, modified it some for high altitude and came up with a delicious second to a bakery version of Oatmeal Cookies. Check it out!

Best Bakery Oatmeal Cookies

2 eggs well beaten
1 cup raisins
1 Tablespoon! vanilla
1 cup butter (3/4 cup high altitude)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds or flax or both!
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat bran

Beat the eggs well, add the vanilla, stir and then add the raisins. Allow to soak for an hour or two.

Beat the butter, add sugars. In separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, soda and spices. Add the dry mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix well. Add the bran and mix well. Then add the eggs with raisins. Mix well. If you like large chunks of nuts, them mix the remaining nuts in, along with the oatmeal, by hand. It makes for a pretty stiff dough.

Shape into 2" balls, place on a greased air bake cookie sheet and then flatten a bit with the back of a spatula. Bake 350 for 18 min., remove and let sit on the pan for 4 min. (My times are high altitude. You flatlanders may need to adjust that on your first batch to get a correct time). The recipe made 24 too-large-to-dip-in-a-glass-of-milk cookies.

They turn out huge, soft and delicious. The recipe made 24 too-large-to-dip-in-a-glass-of-milk cookies. Try it and let me know how they turn out. That picture is one I took this afternoon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Here's a new twist on an old favorite.

4 large Granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Frozen double crust package (the kind you just unroll)

Press one of the crusts into a deep dish pie pan, pinching the edges to create a boarder. Mix the fruit together in a large bowl. Mix all of the dry ingredients together then toss with the fruit. Dump in the filling. Take the other piece of crust and use a cookie cutter of your choice ( I used a maple leaf cutter to be extra festive!) to cut shapes out of the dough. Starting from the edges and working toward the middle, layer onto the top of the filling of the pie overlapping each piece a little as you go. You can re-roll any extra out to get a few extra shapes. Brush with half and half and sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake at 375 for 30-45 min. You know it's done when the cranberries have baked long enough to cause the juice to turn pink and bubble out of the spaces in the topping.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

DELICIOUS!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Fall take on Lasagna

Butternut Squash with Sage Lasagna!
(photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com, we were all too floured in the homemade noodles to manage the camera!)

I made this lasagna tonight and it was delicious. The roasted butternut squash sort of caramelized in the roasting pan with the help of the olive oil and almost didn't make it into the lasagna. I'm convinced this is the best way to fix all that winter squash in a way that is so yummy. Toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake it for 30-40 min at 425 or so. YUM!

OK, so here's the recipe from Martha herself. It's fun to make pasta from scratch and the boys had fun rolling it through the pasta machine but if you don't have one then don't bother. Just go for the boxed noodles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aeneas on his bike

Here are some recent videos of Aeneas on his bike. His famous last words are "Hey watch this!" I think it's funny how he kinda checks out the college girls as they go by.


Here he is playing it off like he meant to fall. He needed to check out this hole in the ground.





And here he is doing some tricks. Dragging his feet to sort of skid and popping a wheelie. Ahhhsemmmm!



Friday, October 22, 2010

Need your feedback on this craft/gift

Alright, sisters, I need your honest opinion. I don't have any friends here yet, so I'm not sure what to do with this, so I thought I would ask you. This summer, Mom and Janelle and I were shopping and they both loved these scarves that had long ruffles. They were $40 and I told them not to bother getting them because I was sure I could find a way to make them myself. I was hoping to throw some ruffly scarves together for them for Christmas.
I pulled a late night last night and put together this scarf. 
It looks dumb hanging there on the jacket, but I think it looks pretty fun in person.
It's 5 inches wide.

Although I'm just not sure. It might be a little too much? 


What makes me think that it's not totally out of style and crazy is that this ruffly scarf idea reminded me of scarves I've seen in Anthropologie

 Then I made an ear warmer/ headband to match
Added a flower to this one

 Of course you don't know if they will like them or not, but I was wondering if you think this thing is ridiculous? If you think it is a little too over-the-top or unique, I might just keep it for myself, although I really wanted to give it to my sister, I'm just afraid she'll be freaked by it. I bought two colors of knit so I think I will try to make another one with just two ruffled rows instead of three so it's thinner. 

Please tell me truthfully what you think!

Thanks girlies!

P.S. Have fun at the MOUNTAINS this weekend! Wish I could be there with you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Winter Yummies

I LOVE the idea of sharing soup recipes. Thanks for taking the time to put yours out there for us, Merritt. I make your Pasta Fagioli regularly in the winter and I also make Anna's Black Bean and Corn Relish Tostadas often. I'm so grateful to glean recipes from you ladies - you all are wonderful inspirations!

Here are also three from our kitchen. Well, they are ALL from Real Simple Magazine, actually. I love their recipes, as you know. So I just copied everything from their website and pasted it here for convenience.

Creamy Barley with Tomatoes and Greens
(vegetarian)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the barley, tomatoes, wine, and 2 ½ cups water and bring to a boil. (I don't drain the tomatoes and add 2 cups instead)
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the mustard greens, Taleggio, and ¼ cup of the Parmesan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.


Spicy Tortilla Soup



Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Cut the tortillas into 1/2-inch strips. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy.
  2. In a large saucepan, simmer the chicken broth and meat for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the red onion, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, and lime juice. Heat about 5 minutes. Cut the corn from the cobs and add it to the soup.
  4. Divide the tortilla strips among 4 bowls. Ladle in the soup and top with cilantro, avocado, and cheese.
I super simplify this recipe and use tortilla chips, frozen corn, canned tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, etc... I usually make this on an evening immediately after I make my chicken broth for the week which is super easy to just use the extra chicken pieces and 64 oz chicken broth. This isn't usually spicy enough for us so sometimes we add salsa or tobasco. 


White Bean Chili with Jalapeno Bulgur
(vegetarian)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the bulgur and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, scallions, jalapeƱo, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and 1½ cups water to the onion mixture; bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Divide the chili among bowls and top with the bulgur.

    To freeze:
     Omit the bulgur. Make the chili as directed. Cool to room temperature and divide among freezer containers or bags. Freeze for up to 3 months.

    To cook: Thaw the chili in a bowl of cold water or overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to a pot and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bulgur. Top the chili as directed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miniature Mountain Bikers

Here is what Patrick and Aeneas have been up to lately.



When you don't have brakes or pedals, for that matter, just use your shoes to skid! It's guaranteed to make your mother happy.




Rock hoppin' Patrick.


You can't get it every time!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Uncle Dooney and Uncle G





Out of the blue, Aeneas looks at JP and says this. Of course the video is us trying to get him to say it again. You get the idea.

I asked what a butterfly's tongue is called and Aeneas promptly says, "a biscus."

Aeneas is lately calling the guitar the "batar." He loves to "chetch bugs," and will spend an hour outside flipping rocks, hauling around his bug book for reference when he scores a good find.

Patrick is practicing his note flash cards at piano today and Gabrielle puts a card up there, he plays the correct key and she asks him, "Name?" He looks back at her and says, "Patrick!" She is also realizing that she can sing a note and he can find it on the first shot on the piano. He's got an amazing ear, that kid. Crazy.

Patrick called a kazoo a "Bazoo" tonight while explaining to me why he hit Aeneas with the drumstick on the head. I couldn't help but crack up. The stern talking to went out the window. What I took from the situation is don't mess with the boy when he's doing his beats.








Soup Recipes

Hey ladies...I am busting out my crock pot and all my soup recipes since we finally have some cool weather...why don't we all post our favorite winter recipes so we can add to our repertoires!

Hamburger Soup

1 ½ lbs ground beef
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
Salt/pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder to taste
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can condensed tomato soup
3 cups water
Beef bouillon (a cube)

Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook until evenly browned. Drain and set aside.

Place potatoes in a layer to cover the bottom of crock pot. Sprinkle celery over potatoes. Cover with ground beef. Add remaining veggies and seasonings. Mix together the soup, water, and bouillon and pour over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.


Beef and Barley Soup

1 lb beef tenderloin roast ( I use whatever meat is on sale that week) cut into ¾ inch cubes
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 TBSP minced garlic
6 cups beef stock/broth
½ cup tomato puree (or whatever tom. product you have on hand – puree, sauce, etc )
¼ dry red wine
1 tsp crushed thyme
Salt/pepper to taste
1 cup quick cooking barley
Fresh parsley and basil if desired

In a 4 quart pan, brown half of the meat in hot oil over medium high heat. Remove meat from pan. Add remaining meat, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir until meat is brown and onion is tender. Return all meat to pan.

Stir in beef stock, tomato puree, wine, thyme, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until meat/veggies are tender. Stir in parsley and basil.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

1 12oz jar salsa Verde
3 cups cooked chicken pieces (rotisserie or leftovers work well)
1 15 oz can cannellini beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
2 green onions, chopped
Sour cream and tortilla chips if desired

Empty the salsa into a large saucepan. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat and then add chicken, beans, broth, cumin. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Top each bowl with green onions, sour cream, and chips.

I serve this with cornbread. I also add an additional can of beans to make it heartier.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Big Daddy is an Excellent Chef

We all knew that Big Daddy was an excellent chef but up until now, I wasn't sure what his secret was. Well, brace yourselves...

That's right. All he needs is a girly apron. Go figure.

Nina and Big Daddy flew ALL THE WAY out to Durango last week to see us and boy were we glad to see them! Every day here seems like it's blue skies and beautiful but those Georgia visitors (my Dad too) bring the rain with them. So outside of one rainy day, it was gorgeous fall weather and we enjoyed picnics, walks downtown and delicious continental breakfasts courtesy of their downtown home, the Strater.

There were many a books read and flights for the treasures they brought with them. They even managed to go eat lunch at school with Patrick one day.

And the day after they left, I went to go pick up Aeneas from preschool to, "Where's Big Daddy. He's spose to pick me up." Well Big Daddy went home yesterday, back to Georgia. "Well Nina pick me up then."

Thank You Nina and Big Daddy for coming to see us!

Friday, October 1, 2010

They've gotten bigger

Just a quick update for you before heading out of town.... Kale seems to have mastered bigger objects. He will be up to challenge anyone willing to compete.

I can't believe the little booger is going to be ONE next week!! Time files when you're having fun. In the past 2 weeks we have mastered Dancing & Walking - I think we are on the verge of running now. He has learned he can climb on his rocking chair and get things off his dresser, he has figured out how to do pull ups on the hallway table, climb on the coffee table, put toys in the diaper gene, (hopefully we haven't thrown any out!) and really really bother the dog.
His recent claim to fame is that he takes the SAME dvd off of the rack every time.... "What a Girl Wants" - where ever we put it mixed in all the other DVD's he can seem to pick it out every time. It's the ONLY dvd he will take off the rack and want to walk around with - he never bothers any of the others. Anyway, The little guys sure keeps us busy!

I hope you are all keeping up with your kiddos you may have, and that you all have a very blessed week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

No Words...

There are just no words....


I Promise we are teaching him manners. But I have to wonder, if he is paying more attention to us then he is to the dog. By the looks of this... He pays more attention to the dog!

Oh the joys of little boys! Gotta love them :-)


Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipes!

Okay girls, I am in desperate need of some new recipes! I need some quick, easy, cheap, and healthy ideas...here are a few new things I've made recently...and I had to include something pumpkin since fall is in the air!

Easy Roasted Pork

2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup cinnamon applesauce (I just used 1 little cup of regular)
1 ½ tsp ginger
2 lbs pork loin roast

Preheat oven to 325.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, and ginger.
Place pork in small oven bag. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the roast. Seal the bag. Cut several small slits in the top.
Cook for 1 hour. Enjoy!

I served this with garlic/olive oil couscous and

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli

12 oz bowtie pasta
3 TBSP olive oil
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken cut into thin strips
3 cups broccoli florets
2 small peppers cut into thin strips
1 cup chicken broth
1 container (about 6 oz) of garlic soft spreadable cheese (I used garlic herb cream cheese)

Cook and drain pasta as directed on pkg.
In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add chicken. Cook 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked and lightly browned.
Remove chicken. Add broccoli, peppers, and broth. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until broccoli is tender.
Return chicken to skillet. Cook 1 minute longer. Add cheese, then pasta, gently combining until cheese is melted and smooth.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

3 cups white sugar
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease three 9 x 5 loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Pour into pans. Bake for 1 hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Love Breakfast on the Weekends!

A lazy morning in Oklahoma. Yes it's hot enough to be playing in the sprinkler that early!

Sunday's are for church, Mondays are for getting back in to the groove of school and work and Saturdays are for pancakes! What better day than Saturday than to do something special for breakfast. I love all breakfast breads and a Saturday doesn't pass by that I don't get out the flour and eggs and think, now what to make for breakfast. There's just nothing better than a tall cup of coffee and some pancakes, or waffles or homemade muffins. What I don't appreciate is the fact that with all the tastiness of a family ritual also comes a not so healthy addition to our diets.

While we were visiting our friends, the Meiers, in OK, Joshua, who is one of the best cooks I've ever met, made these delicious muffins. He pulled them out of a Martha Stewart cookbook that he scored at a White Elephant Christmas party last year. Someone didn't know what they were missing. They are moist, delicious and HEALTHY to boot! Not to mention the recipe is super flexible. You can sub out the raisins for currants, blueberries, craisins or figs (my favorite!). And you can sub out the carrots for zucchini if that's what you happen to have in the fridge.

Anyway, check it out. I think you will love it! And make it this Saturday morning to unwind from the busy week.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 12.




Thanks Joshua and Melissa (and Martha) for a terrific lazy morning!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Childhood Memories

I wrote this poem in the early part of this year. And you will find that it's where many of the lyrics to the song I posted a few months ago, came from. Enjoy.

Ashley and me muddin' on the Tivoli

The afternoon sun was just

beginning to burn the air.

It was the time after church,

after your Mama

has filled your belly

with a slow cooked roast, potatoes

and endless selection of vegetables

that all taste like bacon.

The time of day

when you have to move

before the sleepy threat

of a full stomach and lazy day

tells you to close your eyes.

I headed down the old dirt road,

kicking the barking dogs

from my bike tires

to meet Ashley.

Hearing the same call of adventure,

I, unsurprisingly, found her waiting,

under the towering pine

we called half way.

We hopped on our bikes,

pockets full

of our daddies’ loose change,

making a game of riding,

kickstands rattling,

through the same pot holes,

that our parents tried so desperately

to miss in their shiny cars.

The mirage in the distance

made it look like a silky ribbon

of new asphalt.

But we knew better,

as the vision was devoured

with the sharp teeth

of rocks and an unmaintained

patchwork of old cement

that made up the seemingly forgotten path.

When the road turned to dirt,

we fought like warriors on horseback

against washboards and quicksand

dismounting to push

when it got too thick to ride.

We headed to Ms. Betty’s

For candy cigarettes and airheads.

Heading back again,

we both wondered to ourselves

if that little piece of freedom

was worth the sweat of the dirt struggle.

We rode to the culvert that drained

to what we considered our domain;

The 400 yard ribbon of wild tomboy adventure

following the property line of Hendley’s place.

Hopping over branches and under washed out roots

ponytails and braids swinging

in a canopy of live oak trees

easily 20 times our age.

We stopped along the way to send

wax-bottomed leaf boats

with their skinny captains

down miniature currents

to empty into the Tivoli.

The freshwater,

sandy bottomed creek bed

turned to sticky, tar like black mud

crawling with fiddler armies

waving their weapons to deter the giant

enemy’s invasion.

Kicking caked feet 8 times their true size,

we swam over to the low-tide, oil slick bank

of the Tivoli.

Stepping,

squishing,

slurping,

knee deep in the mud

up to the edge of the marsh.

Spreading out our bodies on the cool mud,

we slithered back down

into the piercing jabs

of a multitude of passing shrimp

on parade to our neighbor’s cast net.

An unforeseen revenge for the attack

on our tender legs.

Whoo wee!

pierces the air like a strange distress signal.

Looking over to the dock,

Hendley drops the ladder,

with a silver splash, into the river.

We ride the almost still tide on its way to the sea

To our unbidden rescue,

an unsure footing of the dock

floating on the currents of the Tivoli.

Seeing the gleam in his eye,

We follow him up the ramp to the shed

slick feet,

dripping clothes,

among sniffing, tickling dogs’ noses

to a 5 gallon bucket

of fresh boiled shrimp.

Filling our now empty bellies

we lay back in the grass,

staring through the specked light of a live oak.

Sitting up, we race to the tire swing

Taking turns

sailing

out

over

Hendley’s diminishing outside bend

of the Tivoli.

Baking sun,

warm breeze,

eyes closed,

wings outstretched

catching flight.

In stiff damp clothes,

itchy, salty skin,

we kick the sand,

and pat the furry heads of the dogs,

as we head back to our bikes that we

left in a heap

at the culvert.

We pedal hard,

this time alone,

and in opposite directions,

weaving to miss the pot holes and quicksand pits,

racing against the creep

of the evening

and the bite of the mosquitoes.

We return to our air conditioned houses

overlooking the marsh flats

with our families and weekly rotes

until the call of the Tivoli

the following lazy

Sunday afternoon

beckons us to her muddy adventure

once again.



Cleaning up on the dock


We got to visit Ashley and her Hubby this summer in Missoula. We haven't changed much. We're still playing in the woods and in constant preparation of our next adventure. These days, they tend to be a bit further from the river we grew up on.

Our families now: Me, Aeneas, Justin, Patrick, Ashley, Maisie and Aaron.